Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

DC Public Schools -- high school enrollments (2012-2013 school year)

In a posting on Friday ("DC high schools: capacity versus enrollment"), I commented about pre-1950 high schools being constructed to accommodate an enrollment of at least 1500 students and how most DC public schools have significantly less than this number, leading to more schools than necessary, and some unneeded construction for replacement buildings.

This table lists only those schools that are considered traditional high schools. Roosevelt and Ballou have alternative high school programs in addition to the enrollment figures listed. Phelps is a "vocational" high school, Ellington focuses on the arts, and McKinley has a technology focus. Banneker and School Without Walls are magnet high schools.

Data is from the DC Office of the State Superintendent for Education website.

School Enrollment
Anacostia 697
Ballou 791
Banneker 394
Cardozo 537
Coolidge 490
Dunbar 504
Eastern 504
Ellington 551
McKinley 697
Phelps 340
Roosevelt 473
School Without Walls 548
Wilson 1713
Woodson 710

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At 3:38 PM, Anonymous charlie said...


Wakefield -- around 1800

WL - around 2000

Yorktown -- around 1700

5500 total

At 4:01 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

I can't believe I didn't think about this kind of comparison...

I was thinking about when I went to HS. Back then the Detroit suburbs had lots of kids. So Royal Oak, the city next door to Troy, had two high schools each with 2000 students. Now they have one HS with less than that enrollment.

Detroit high schools were big too back in the day. Most probably about 2000 students.

My high school was "small," 1200 students. It had been bigger, but the city built another high school, so the enrollment overall was larger--they went to 9-12--but between two schools. So we moved from Class A in sports to Class B and most of the high schools we competed with had enrollments like the Royal Oak schools...

At 8:28 AM, Anonymous charlie said...

Mine was around 1200 as well.

I don't doubt, that due to the peculiar circumstances of DC, that a larger school is harder to control. Territorial gangs and all that.

That being said, Arlington has also rebuilt all the high schools for those larger numbers. Cardozo is big, for instance, but isn't well suited to modern numbers so might not ben able to take the 1200 or 3000 that it once had. The number you are quoting there might now be for the "educational campus" which includes the middle school.

And I am in favor of keeping the older buildings. But I don't think Dunbar was built to be that big either.

We've talked about how municipal investments tend to go into growing areas. School are an example of the opposite. And the schools systems capital budget tends be very very under the radar.

At 9:47 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

while I agree about the modern requirements and therefore size being different today, the numbers quoted from the Comp. Plan are for the high school only. The ed. campus was something else entirely.

The proposed size for junior high schools was 750-1500 and for elementary schools 360 to 720 (based on a 30 student per classroom figure).

Back then too, the school system was segregated, and there was a legacy infrastructure of many many many small buildings.

High schools were three grades 10-12 and junior highs were three grades too, 7-9.

At 6:45 PM, Anonymous Christopher said...

My high school in suburban Chicago was was under 700 but it was VERY small by Chicago standards. My mother's was 4,000. 3-4,000 isn't unusual in those big township schools that dominate the suburbs of Chicago. Even when the township splits the schools into the East, West, North, South, they still end up being 2,000+.

My own high school is that kind of size now but the city has doubled in population.

Small schools are big deal in both urban and suburban districts now. Here in NYC, more than one type of high school or public charter will share a building. In suburban Chicago, districts with more than one campus are experimenting with how classes are broken up.

For instance, freshman centers are a trend out there. So all 9th graders would be put in one building and 10-12 in another. I've even seen that done with middle junior high. So 6th grade or 5th and 6th are in one grouping. Then a junior high from 7-9th and then 10-12th in another.

Perhaps DC would gain more from its schools with some more innovative clustering of grades?


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